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New Research Could Reveal Which Parts of Your City Swelter the Most New Research Could Reveal Which Parts of Your City Swelter the Most

Anyone who’s spent time in a city in the summer knows that these bastions of blacktop get uncomfortably hot compared with the surrounding countryside. But even within a city’s bounds, some neighborhoods swelter more than others, and that can have a big effect on who’s most threatened by heatwaves. Which is why citizen…

Lawns Are an Ecological Disaster Lawns Are an Ecological Disaster

Neil Tyson often conjectures that maybe aliens have concluded humans aren’t intelligent enough to contact. He’s probably referring to our capacity for war, but lawns may display our talent for fruitless carnage even better.

Good Urban Planning Could Mean Hotter Cities Good Urban Planning Could Mean Hotter Cities

Growing up around Washington, D.C., it’s a relief to now live in a city laid out in a coherent fashion, with numbered streets increasing along a cardinal directional axis and being intersected at sensible right angles. Which is why it pains me to say that physics brings some bad news for my fellow gridded…

The Radical Plan to Cool Down LA as the World Heats Up The Radical Plan to Cool Down LA as the World Heats Up

LOS ANGELES — It’s barely 10 a.m. on an August day in Hollywood, and the heat is already becoming oppressive. The temperature’s only in the mid-80s, but in the direct sun it feels hotter—and it’s getting worse by the minute. Part of the reason is the ground. The black asphalt of this side street off Sunset Boulevard…

Hong Kong Looks Beautifully Uncanny When Seen From the Sky Hong Kong Looks Beautifully Uncanny When Seen From the Sky

Few cities represent the remarkable 20th century trend of skyscraper-filled, obscenely dense cities better than Hong Kong. At its height, The Kowloon Walled City, which was demolished in 1993, was perhaps the most dystopian portrait of urban living. And according to photographer Andy Yeung, 21st-century Hong Kong…

Megacities Will Gobble Up the Best Farmland, Leaving Humans Hungry Megacities Will Gobble Up the Best Farmland, Leaving Humans Hungry

Cities will grow alongside growing populations, turning the land in their wake into housing and infrastructure. And when that happens, we can goodbye to the food, a new study warns.

Why Are American Cities So Much Different Than European Cities? Why Are American Cities So Much Different Than European Cities?

European cities like Paris are much, much older than American cities like New York, and that age difference has led to many interesting differences in the layout of each city. For example, the wealthy population of America often live in suburbs away from the city while in Europe, the rich live inside the city. Why is…

New Clean Energy Report: America May Not Be Screwed After All New Clean Energy Report: America May Not Be Screwed After All

For the past sixteen months or so, it’s felt as though our planet has been shaking us by the shoulders, trying to wake us up to the fact that we’ve kicked the thermostat into overdrive. The good news is, America finally seems to be listening. According to a new report by the Department of Energy, wind and solar…

How Olympians Can Survive Swimming in Sewage How Olympians Can Survive Swimming in Sewage

Rio’s water is vile—full of raw sewage and dead bodies—and later this week, humanity’s top athletes will plunge into this hellish stew for a jolly ol’ international sporting competition.

The App You've Never Heard of That's Making Your City Better The App You've Never Heard of That's Making Your City Better

In the 80s and 90s, the 911 system in the US became overloaded with people calling to report things like wayward couches and double-parked cars—not emergencies, yet situations where city officials could help. In 1996, Baltimore successfully tested a system that diverted these requests to a separate number. In 1997,…

Riders of SF's Tech Buses Would Prefer To Keep Their Commutes as Cushy as Possible Riders of SF's Tech Buses Would Prefer To Keep Their Commutes as Cushy as Possible

San Francisco needs help. It also needs to decide where to put bus stops for the hundreds of shuttle buses that creep through its streets, gathering wizened, under-caffeinated developers for their journeys to jolly Mountain View. A survey that asked for such logistical input provided some additional—and perhaps…

Hyperloop Connecting Helsinki and Stockholm Turns 300-Mile Trip Into 28 Minute Ride Hyperloop Connecting Helsinki and Stockholm Turns 300-Mile Trip Into 28 Minute Ride

Where will the first Hyperloop be? So far there are plans to use the tubular transportation system to move passengers in Slovakia and freight in Switzerland. But a proposed application for the Hyperloop announced today could solve a transportation conundrum that has been challenging planners for centuries: Connecting…

Turns Out, Hedgehogs Are At Home in Cities Turns Out, Hedgehogs Are At Home in Cities

Researchers at the University of Hamburg noticed that urban areas have higher populations of hedgehogs than rural areas, so they asked the question: what gives?

Fatal Tesla Crash Proves Full Autonomy Is the Only Solution for Self-Driving Cars Fatal Tesla Crash Proves Full Autonomy Is the Only Solution for Self-Driving Cars

The investigation into a death that occurred while a Tesla Model S driver was using Autopilot has filled the internet with dystopian-sounding headlines. Self-driving car driver died for the first time after crash in Florida. Self-driving Tesla was involved in fatal crash. But this was not a “self-driving car” that…

The Best and Worst Ideas from San Francisco's Big Homelessness Project The Best and Worst Ideas from San Francisco's Big Homelessness Project

You might have noticed an uptick of stories about the Bay Area’s homeless crisis in your social media feeds recently. Dozens of news organizations worked together to coordinate the publication of stories on homelessness today—all of which are mean to specifically focus on solutions for housing the region’s homeless…

Philly's Beautiful Plan to Fight Crime with Neon Murals Philly's Beautiful Plan to Fight Crime with Neon Murals

Just the presence of streetlights can deter criminal behavior. A South Philadelphia neighborhood is trying something a little more innovative than that—using neon-lit murals to brighten the sidewalk and turn the area into a destination.

Now Y Combinator Wants to Build a City Because Every Other Tech Company Is Doing It Now Y Combinator Wants to Build a City Because Every Other Tech Company Is Doing It

Cities are so trendy right now that every big tech company wants to build its own. Zappos did it in Downtown Vegas. Amazon is kind of doing it in a Seattle. Alphabet is probably doing it somewhere soon. And now Y Combinator wants in on the fun, too, with a plan to build some kind of alt-Silicon Valley... somewhere.

Worried About Self-Driving Cars? Guess What—There's Something You Can Do About That Worried About Self-Driving Cars? Guess What—There's Something You Can Do About That

For three years I’ve been writing at least once a week about self-driving cars and I’ve recently noticed a shift in popular opinion. The wide-eyed optimism of seeing Google’s cute-as-a-button robot bopping unassisted around a parking lot has been replaced by some ambiguous, malicious, unknowable entity, a…

Facebook's New Gehry Building Includes the World's Least Functional Bike Bridge Facebook's New Gehry Building Includes the World's Least Functional Bike Bridge

In 2012, Frank Gehry and Mark Zuckerberg posed for a series of photos that sealed their intertwined fates: Gehry, arguably the world’s most famous architect, would design a new campus for Zuckerberg, arguably the world’s most powerful not-lizard person. Surely with all this money and talent coalescing like a hunk of…

These Transit Safety Videos Are So Gruesome They Just Might Work These Transit Safety Videos Are So Gruesome They Just Might Work

What would convince transit riders to pay attention to an oncoming train instead of Instagram? Apparently, a graphic depiction of certain dismemberment.

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